The firepower Calgary based four piece band In/Vertigo brings to their hard rock sound on “Bad Enemy” is one hell of a harbinger for the glory to come with their forthcoming EP release Sex, Love, and Chaos. They made some minor waves with the limited release of their self-titled demo, but In/Vertigo has built their career methodically, progressing from establishing a reputation as a potent live act, moving into studio work, and finding their measure before emerging with a full-fledged debut effort. They conjure up a massive sound despite being only four musicians, particularly guitarist Shaddy Elsaghir, but lead singer Reed Alton catches your ear as well thanks to his damn the torpedoes approach to singing. A huge amount of personality comes through his vocals, as well, something that many similarly strong voices don’t manage, and it helps get the song over even more.
He gets the lyrics over like everything, including his life, depends on it. Despite this, however, there’s never any sense of Alton not attempting to help the song. He’s not the sort of vocalist who, by his performance, clearly signals that he thinks he’s the star of the show. Instead, In/Vertigo sounds like real, organic band from the first. The obvious chemistry percolating from this tune from the first separates In/Vertigo from many of their contemporaries and they sound like a band who’s been playing together for years rather than the relatively short amount of time In/Vertigo has been together. Alton and Elsaghir are, unquestionably, the musical center of the song, but that isn’t to say that the remainder of the band is an afterthought. Far from it.
Drummer Keaton Byfield lays down a confident, heavy groove and does an expert job of manipulating the song’s dynamics in such a way that it ratchets the drama up to a whole new level. Bass player Duncan McCartney doesn’t go in for a bunch of flash, but instead concentrates on holding down the bottom end with Byfield and perfectly complements him. They work well with Elsaghir and Alton and distinguish themselves, but they provide a sound for the song that makes it go more than anything else going on during this song. It isn’t flashy, but it works, and their command of fundamentals is more than solid – it’s the engine that makes the song hum. It runs three and a half minutes long, but it’s an action-packed three and a half minutes sure to satisfy any committed hard rock fan.
Sex, Love, and Chaos promises to be a barnburner from all evidence here – “Bad Enemy” is a blazing slice reminding listeners what hard rock in 2018 is still capable of in the right hands. In/Vertigo are set to bust free of their Canadian boundaries and find worldwide appeal thanks to their winning sound and their obvious strength as a live act. They’ve made their mark across Western Canada as a hellraising live act and their busy live itinerary only solidifies their burgeoning claim as being one of the best young hard rock acts working anywhere today.
-review by Jodi Marxbury